Harvey Shapiro - Bourne Braves Field Manager - SportsPix Photo
The year 2020 has come and gone.
Although Cape Cod saw no summer baseball for the first time since World War II, the league is planning for a successful 2021 season.
As is custom with the change of the calendar, New Year’s resolutions allow people the chance to make a modification to their lives. The Cape League is no different as teams and Cape League members are beginning to look forward to seeing what will create a memorable return to play.
Harvey Shapiro began coaching on Cape Cod with the Falmouth Commodores in 1994 and after a brief hiatus, started managing the Bourne Braves in 2003. It’s a position he still holds. He explained what getting back on the diamond in 2021 will mean to him. Although the resolution comes from his mouth, it related to many associated with the Cape League.
“The last time I coached in the game was...in 2019,” said Shapiro. “All of 2020 I didn't coach. So the next time I coach is 2021. So you're really almost talking two years. My wish is to be in a Bourne Braves uniform. Now, years ago, when I started in coaching, my mentor, his name was Archie Allen at Springfield college (and later the Commissioner of the Cape League)... He used to say use the tell players and coaching staff that when you put your uniform on, you should come alive, you should be excited. And what I'm hoping it is. Being in a Bourne Braves uniform on a Cape League field; have a pregame, a batting practice, infield/outfield practice, stand on the foul lines, have the national anthem sung or played by whatever musical group, have the umpire say play ball, and we play a baseball game.”
Bourne President Nicole Norkevicius looked more to a team perspective when finding her team’s 2021 goals. She said how they look to have flawless field conditions with “Lake Doran” becoming a thing of the past. She said the team also strives to host more than two playoff games at Doran Park, something that hasn’t happened since 2017.
Both Bourne’s Norkevicius, as well as Wareham’s Senior Vice President Glen Hannington, stressed the joy it will bring their organizations when they eventually welcome fans back to experience summer baseball.
Hannington said during the canceled 2020 season, the Israeli Olympic baseball team was supposed to come to Spillane Field and compete against the Gatemen. He hopes that this can happen this coming summer instead as the opportunity it would provide for the young players is important. Wareham is also hosting the 2021 Cape League all-star game which they hope will be a success.
In the spring, the Gatemen are investing in a “state-of-the-art” video board for the upcoming season. It will not only serve a purpose at games but likely will be used to host movie nights and other community events says Hannington.
Longtime Falmouth Commodores Manager Jeff Trundy is thankful for all the participation throughout the Commodores organization. He said his 2021 resolution is to, “have a daily reminder of being thankful for all of the people who make [Falmouth] and the league the special place that it is, and to never take any of these individuals and their work for granted.” He continued, “we are blessed with so many great people who unselfishly give their time and energy to make the summer a success.”
The Cotuit Kettleers resolutions were also fan-based, as the team’s Assistant General Manager Glenn Ware hopes to bring in more fans from the surrounding areas and making Lowell Park more accessible overall. Ware emphasized Cotuit’s need to create a stronger social media presence in an increasingly online world.
While some teams opted to be vague in their specific team goals for the upcoming season, Hyannis did not mince words in creating their resolution for the new year. “We hope to win the championship!” said team President and Intern Coordinator, Brad and Laurie Pfeifer. “We hope our new coach will be successful, our team will be healthy and work hard while enjoying a summer on Cape Cod. We hope our attendance is over the top and that we sell lots of merchandise. We hope our interns are creative and hard-working and we hope to bring in new volunteers. Most importantly we hope to have a season!”
Brewster Whitecaps President Bob Graczewski and General Manager Ned Monthie seconded the Harbor Hawks’ hunger to win in 2021. Brewster didn’t make the playoffs in 2019 and a winning season would help attract more fans. They resolved to expand their social media use which would also help engage their fanbase. Finally, Brewster wants to upgrade its facilities this season to help provide the best game atmosphere for fans.
Chatham’s new year’s resolution may be a hard one to come to fruition. Anglers General Manager Mike Geylin said the team wants to “find a way to eliminate game-ending and game-delaying fog.” For anyone not familiar with baseball in the busy summer town, a thick fog will roll onto Veterans Field as games progress, leading to the games’ early end. Geylin also expressed Chatham’s want to go deep in the playoffs. The Anglers haven’t won a Cape League Championship since 1998, but most recently made it to the championship series in 2018, losing to Wareham.
Fifteen minutes north of Veterans Field sits Eldredge Park in Orleans where the Firebirds are proud of their ability to attract players and provide good fan experiences and look to continue that moving into 2021. “Orleans has a long tradition of providing some of the best playing conditions in the league and will continue to do so,” said team President Bob O’Donnell. “We are on our way by totally reconditioning our lights in 2020, started the assessment and implementation of field surface preparation after a season of no play, and continually strive to make the Orleans a ‘Players Park.’”
Team manager Kelly Nicholson delved deeper into the college athletes themselves. “We want our players to have a positive experience, stay healthy, and most importantly, return to their respective universities a better person as a result of playing in the Cape.”